Yesterday, I shared a picture on Instagram and Facebook that I took when I was sitting in my car, having just got very tearful and upset when talking to my Mum about some things that are going on in my life.  I have been feeling quite low for a while because of some situations in my life.

I used to air my negative feelings on Facebook all the time.  For a while, that was all I put I think!  But since getting sober, I have enjoyed my feed being a more positive thing, apart from the occasional outpouring of fury at politics!  I have rarely posted on Facebook when I feel less than positive

I shouldn’t feel low, I have Yoga, I am sober, I teach people how to feel better, I know how to feel better, I have gratitude and pranayama, I should be able to handle this.  

Well yes, all that is true.  But it doesn’t mean that sometimes life isn’t bloody hard.  And sometimes even if you have all the tools at your disposal, life can still feel really hard.

I shared my post because I wanted to talk about the value of being honest on social media in a world of polished lives.  I wanted to share my happiness that while I might have been feeling really shitty about a lot of things, I was still sober, and not even entertaining thoughts of drinking or reaching for the marijuana to numb the feelings.  And I wanted to own my feelings.  There is as much power in owning the crappy feelings in a public forum as there is the positive.  Simply stating how I felt led me to feel better….yet again I reinforced the power of words and sharing truthfully with others.

Dr Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani, son of Swami Gitananda, reminded me that it is normal to feel this way, that everyone has moments like this, that moments like this are part of the process of spiritual and personal growth, and that the answer is to feel what we feel, but “to find ways of getting up as best and soon as possible”.

So that is what I am doing now.  I am getting back up.  With the music I love to accompany me and help me dance the blues away.

We all have things that help us when we are feeling like I did.  I take comfort in the words and music of great songwriters and musicians.  I know that many others do too, so below are some of the songs that comfort me, and some of my Facebook friends, who shared their ‘lift me up’ songs with me.  I would LOVE to know what songs do this for you!

All Things Must Pass – George Harrison

If you have followed my posts at all, you may have picked up on my deep and long term love of this man.  The words of this song are a powerful reminder that everything changes and moves on in life, and that we need to sit with things as they happen.

Now the darkness only stays at night time
In the morning it will fade away 
Daylight is good 
At arriving at the right time 
But it’s not always going 
To be this grey

Writer(s) George Harrison

You can read the lyrics here, and if you really want to give yourself a treat, buy the album this song is from, also called ‘All Things Must Pass‘, it is utterly magnificent!

Fortress – Queens of the Stone Age

Another band who feature heavily in my story, and the pages of this website, American rock band Queens of the Stone Age have written some powerful songs that have spoken to my mental state on a number of occasions.  From the ‘oh my God, this is ME‘ experience of ‘I appear Missing’ from ‘…Like Clockwork’, their latest album seems to continue to reflect my own journey through life.  This song, Fortress, speaks both to how I see my own life in lots of ways, and is also ‘the song I wish I could have written for my children‘.  The message is contains is very similar in many ways to George’s!

Every fortress falls
It is not the end
It ain’t if you fall
But how you rise that says who you really are
So get up and come through
If ever your fortress caves
You’re always safe

Writer(s): Dean Fertita, Michael Shuman, Troy van Leeuwen, Joshua Homme 

The full lyrics for this gorgeous song (which tends to make me cry a little every time I listen to it!) are here, and you can get the Villains album the song comes from here

Heading for the Light – Traveling Wilburys

Yes, the George Harrison theme again. This is the ‘superband’ that George formed with Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne, and what a superband it was! This is a George song that talks about his spiritual journey and his deepening relationship with God. I have always loved it because it is so uplifting and joyful, but in the last few years I have connected with it on a deeper level because it is a perfect recovery song.

I didn’t see that big black cloud hanging over me
And when the rain came down I was nearly drowned
I didn’t know the mess I was in
My shoes are wearing out from walking down this same highway

I don’t see nothing new but I feel a lot of change
And I get the strangest feeling, as I’m
Heading for the light

Writer(s): Thomas Earl Petty, Jeffrey Lynne, Robert Dylan, Roy Kelton Orbison, George Harrison 

With a little help from my friends

I asked my Facebook friends to share songs that they find uplifiting when they are in need of a boost.

Ray, who is going to be doing my two George Harrison tattoos in November, shared that Mary-Christ, by Sonic Youth works for him when he needs a boost

Debbie Bannigan, of Angry Baby Music, knows lots of music that you have probably never heard of, and she recommended Human, by Lanre.  This is such a gorgeous song, it will definitely be added to my playlist!

Angie Darani, who, as a radio dj, also knows lots of music, recommended ‘Optimistic’, by ‘Sounds of Blackness.  A very uplifting song, the words are good to remember when life feels hopeless and you feel lost!

When in the midst of sorrow
You can’ t see up when looking down
A brighter day tomorrow will bring

You hear the voice of reason
Telling you this can’t never be done
No matter how hard reality seems
Just hold on to your dreams

Writer(s) Gary Hines, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis

Casey recommended ‘Not Right Now’ by Jason Gray.  This isn’t really an immediately uplifting song, but it does follow along the ‘All Things Must Pass’ theme, it is written from a place of pain, and of someone suffering in the moment, but knowing that in time he will feel better and that good things will come into his life.  It is good to remember this when you are in the depths of despair.

While I wait for the smoke to clear
You don’t even have to speak
Just sit with me in the ashes here
And together we can pray for peace
To the one acquainted with our grief

I know someday
I know somehow
I’ll be okay
But not right now
Not right now
No, not right now

Writer(s) Jason Gray

Kim suggested The Healing Room by Sinead O’Connor.  This was Kim’s ‘Sober Living Rocks’ track when she was a guest on my podcast as well!  It is a beautiful song which reminds us of the strength we have within us

You have a little voice inside you
It doesn’t matter who you think you may be
You’re not free if you don’t know me

See I’m not the lie that lives outside you
And it doesn’t matter what you think you believe
You’re not free if you don’t know me
If you don’t know me

See I am the universe inside you
You come to me and I will guide you
And make you happy with my laughter

Writer(s): Sinead O’connor

Helen suggested ‘Wonderful Life’ by Black.  This is one of the songs I loved as a child of the 80’s, and one which always gives me that ‘childhood summer’ kind of feel, but the words are beautiful even without the nostalgia, and Colin Vearncombe’s voice is just gorgeous!


Look at me standing
Here on my own again
Up straight in the sunshine

No need to run and hide
It’s a wonderful, wonderful life
No need to laugh and cry
It’s a wonderful, wonderful life

Writer(s): Colin Vearncombe

Lis McDermott suggested Happy, by Pharell Williams, for that ‘you just gotta dance’ feeling it gives….now I struggle to keep my body still when there is music on at the best of times, and agree with her assessment of this one…have you managed to listen to it without at least tapping your feet?

Lindsay Cordery Bruce made a great point about the need to feel the feelings and not try to ignore them

Sometimes I just have to embrace a bit of anger and allow myself to feel how I feel. The Un-named Feeling by Metallica from the At Anger album is the best description I’ve come across. In the past it helped me verbalise the things I didn’t have words for.

I am not, and have never been, a Metallica fan, so have never listened to this song.  There is real power in their music though! These words, while not exactly uplifting, are important, and very relevant in the context of the start of the post.  It is vital that we feel the full range of the emotions.  In the past, had I felt like this, I would have got drunk to numb them, not wanting to experience the unpleasant way they feel, but now I experience them. It can be really helpful to have a song like this to help get this sort of rage out of your system!

I cannot sleep with a head like this
I wanna cry, I wanna scream
I rage, I glaze, I hurt, I hate
I wanna hate it all away

Writer(s):Kirk Hammett, Lars Ulrich, Bob Rock & James Hetfield

Jo suggested two great songs.

Rage Against the Machine’s ‘Killing in the Name of’ has much the same effect as the Metallica track above, allowing you to vent rage and fury, while her other suggestion, Johnny Mercer and the Pied Pipers’ Accentuate the Positive, is a rallying cry for the benefits of gratitude and positive thinking.

You’ve got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between

Writer(s): Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen 

Nicola went one further and shared with me the Spotify playlist she created for exactly this reason, it is filled with bouncy, cheerful songs, and I am sure that everyone will find something in here that will lift the spirits!

What music lifts you up?

I would love to know what music you turn to when you need a boost or a way to dance the negativity away, share your favourites in the comments below and let’s turn this post into a happy dance party!

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Esther Nagle
Teacher, writer, speaker at Balance and Breathe
Esther is a former alcoholic, smoker and all round stressed out mess. She found the path to health, happiness, freedom and joy through Yoga. She is a passionate advocate for the power of Yoga, and time in Nature, in bringing balance to life, and giving you control over your health, happiness and wellbeing.

Esther is a powerful public speaker, writer and author. Her first book, Bent Back into Shape, Beating Addiction Through Yoga, has gained many 5 star reviews and has helped many people along their recovery journey.